f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

November 30, 2004

things looking up — defining 2004

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 10:50 pm

Merriam-Webster’s Words of the Year 2004 have been announced.    thesaurus

It’s a list of the ten words that have been looked up the most at the M-W

online dictionary and thesaurus in 2004.


Most webloggers will take special notice, I’m sure, that the word “blog” was came in at

#1.   In fact, as TalkLeft notes, “blog”  will be a new entry in the 2005 version of the

Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition.   Here’s the M-W definition:

Blog noun [short for Weblog] (1999) : a Web site that contains an online

personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided

by the writer

I’m sure there will be plenty of quibbling over the definition, but I plan to stay out of

that loop (find other defintions of “blog” at OneLook Dictionary and Ask Jeeves).

Of course, I need to preserve my customary objection to the adoption of that ugly

 little word.  Click here for a brief history of the word “blog” (and my plea that we

do better from now on as we create our online and technological Language Legacy).


I have a different observation:  M-W‘s Top Ten List gives a remarkably good sketch

of the events of 2004 — an outline of words on the minds of many Americans. In addition

to “blog,” here’s the list:

 2. incumbent
 3. electoral
 4. insurgent
 5. hurricane
 6. cicada
 7. peloton : noun (1951) : the main body of riders in a bicycle race
 9. sovereignty
10. defenestration

   blackboard abc  There are still 31 days left in 2004.  I wonder what events in America or

around the world could change this list, as we go online to better understand the words

that are important to be well-informed citizens, students, parents, and human beings.



looking up, wrinkles
looking down, wrinkles…
a cold night


drawing words
in an old tray’s ashes…
winter cold

Kobayashi ISSA, translated by David G. Lanoue                                                       

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